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Zehut Diplomatic Plan Quoted in Jerusalem Post

Judea and Samaria. The West Bank. Whatever you want to call it, this piece of land (which includes parts of Jerusalem) is 5,640 square kilometers of the most hotly contested real estate on the planet. The landscape varies from barren desert to arable mountainous terrain. It has rocky terraces and graceful hills and gurgling springs and gnarled olive trees. For Jews, it is the biblical heartland. It is where the patriarchs and matriarchs walked, where they are buried, where the Tabernacle and Temple stood, where the stories of the Bible played themselves out – where they were also massacred, expelled and returned. For Palestinians, it is where they have lived for generations, and where they hope to establish a state of their own. It fell into Israeli hands in a defensive war that lasted for six days in June 1967. Ever since, there have been innumerable plans regarding ways to divide it up or annex it to Israel, without imperiling the country’s Jewish majority. Some of the plans – and they continue to be churned out – are realistic, some creative, some seemingly crazy. What follows is a brief historical survey of some of the more prominent plans that have been put – or are now resting – on the table. One of the earliest plans for the West Bank was submitted soon after the Six Day War in 1967 by then-Labor Party minister Yigal Allon. Allon’s basic idea was to give Israel defensible borders, while not significantly altering the demographic balance of the country. As such, his plan called for Israel to annex most of the Jordan Valley – a ribbon some 15 kilometers in width from the Jordan River to the eastern slopes of the mountain ridge running through the West Bank – to serve as a buffer from attacks from the east. The plan also called for the annexation of Gush Etzion, east Jerusalem, the Latrun salient, and a slice of the Judean desert extending about 15 kilometers from the Dead Sea westward to protect Jerusalem. In other words, Israel would annex one-third of the West Bank, and give up the other two-thirds. At first Allon called for Israel to annex Gaza, and in a later permeation of the plan it was to become part of a confederated Palestinian-Jordanian state. The densely populated Palestinian areas from the mountain ridge to the Green Line would not be annexed, and would either form a Palestinian autonomous region, or – in a later revision of the plan – be confederated with Jordan, and linked to the Hashemite kingdom by a corridor near Jericho. An Israeli road link would be created to give Israel access across the corridor, and – likewise – a Palestinian road link would be created to provide the Palestinians a link from Bethlehem in Judea to Ramallah in Samaria, across the area today known as E-1. In addition, the plan called for Israel to hold on to the South Hebron hills. The cabinet never formally adopted the plan, but until Menachem Begin’s rise to power in 1977, this plan animated Labor Party’s settlement policies. For instance, in the first decade after the Six Day War, Labor governments established 21 settlements in the Jordan Valley and along the eastern slopes of Samaria, areas that under this plan Israel would ultimately hold onto. Likewise, under Labor settlements were established in Gush Etzion, starting with the reestablishment of the pre-1948 community at Kfar Etzion in September 1967, the first settlement established after the war. Jordan’s King Hussein rejected the principles laid down in the Allon plan in secret talks held with prime minister Levi Eshkol in September 1968, arguing that it “infringed on Jordanian sovereignty.” Nevertheless, the Allon Plan was a fundamental plank in the Labor Party platform up until 1987. IN 1977, however, the country went to elections and voted in Begin, who had a different vision altogether. After signing the Camp David Accords, Begin laid down in the Knesset in December 1977 his principles for an autonomy plan. The principles did not include any type of confederation, but rather self-government for the Palestinians. “With the establishment of peace we shall propose the introduction of an administrative autonomy for the Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip,” he said. The principles of the plan included the following points: • Military rule in Judea, Samaria and Gaza would be abolished, replaced by administrative autonomy “by and for the Arab residents.” • The Palestinians would elect an 11-member administrative council that would establish departments of education, transportation, construction, industry, agriculture, health, labor, refugee rehabilitation, legal administration and supervision of the local police force. • Overall security and responsibility for public order – and sovereignty – would remain in Israel’s hands. The residents of the territories could choose to hold either Israeli or Jordanian citizenship, and if they opted for Israeli citizenship would be able to vote, purchase land and settle in Israel. Israeli residents, in turn, would be entitled to purchase land and settle in all areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Begin presented his plan to US president Jimmy Carter and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, and preliminary talks on the matter began, although Palestinian groups refused to take part. The plan petered out with the passage of the Jerusalem Law in 1980 and Sadat’s assassination in 1981, and the talks completely ground to a halt with the outbreak of the Lebanon War in 1982. Plans from the Right “What is your alternative?” Those four words are constantly thrown at right-wing supporters who argue against a two-state solution. The two-state solution might not be perfect, its supporters argue, but – as former US secretary of state John Kerry famously said in his December 2016 speech blasting Israel’s settlement policies – it is the only viable alternative. But, the Right argues, maybe Kerry is wrong. The alternative plans from the Right range from extending Israeli sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria and encouraging the Palestinians there to leave (almost no one wants to annex Gaza, with its 1.8 million Palestinians), to annexing Area C, and giving the 80,000 Palestinians living there Israeli citizenship. On the far Right of the spectrum is a plan articulated by former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, who advocates a plan for Jewish sovereignty over Judea and Samaria that includes the following: • Annexing all of Judea and Samaria and making sure that Jewish sovereignty extends everywhere. • The Arab population would have the following options: Either emigrate voluntarily with the aid of a “generous emigration grant”; receive permanent residency – similar to Green Card status in the US – but be unable to vote; “tie their fate to the fate of the Jewish nation, like the Druze,” and be able to go through a long-term process to attain citizenship. • Encouraging Jews to immigrate and build massively in Judea and Samaria to absorb the new immigrants. Jerusalem Post senior contributing editor Caroline Glick laid out a variation of this plan in her book The Israeli Solution. She, too, advocates sovereignty over all of the territory. Unlike Feiglin, however, she believes that Israel should assert sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria and provide the Palestinians there with full civil and legal rights as permanent residents, who will also have the right to apply for Israeli citizenship. Continue reading

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